Amazon Studio Series Gets $9M Tax Credit in California Relocation

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By Ryan Prete

The California Film Commission awarded $9.2 million in tax credits to the 13th television series to relocate to the Golden State in three years.

The commission announced the credits for Amazon Studio’s crime drama “Sneaky Pete” in a March 19 press release. The series relocated from New York to California, where it formally employed almost 500 cast and crew members and 2,510 extras, according to the commission.

The $9.2 million in tax credits awarded to the series is a fraction of the $53 million the commission expects the series to spend in “qualified expenditures” in the state.

The show is the 13th television series in three years to relocate to California under the commission’s expanded tax credit program, and the third from New York, joining Showtime’s “The Affair” and Netflix original “The OA.”

Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, told Bloomberg Tax that the state’s expanded tax credits have attracted shows that might not have considered relocation in the past.

“Relocating is difficult, expensive, and comes with logistical challenges, but additional credits have really made California attractive for relocation,” Lemisch said. “We’ve had a significant and steady amount of relocating series in the past three years, and I would expect this pace to continue.”

Lemisch said other relocated series included the Home Box Office series “Veep” (from Maryland) and “Ballers” (Florida), and FX series “American Crime Story” (Texas) and “American Horror Story” (Louisiana).

New Features Announced in April

Alongside television series, the commission offers tax credits to feature movies filmed in California.

Lemisch said the commission allows for three application windows per year, and that the next round of film tax credits awardees will be announced in early April.

The commission recently shared acclaim for Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which was awarded $18 million in tax credits.

The commission announced in 2016 that it had selected “A Wrinkle in Time,” along with 27 other productions, as part of its expanded film and television tax credit program. The Disney film, which had a budget of more than $100 million, wouldn’t have qualified for the $18 million in tax credits under California’s prior program.

“A Wrinkle in Time” also generated more than $110 million in local economic activity and contributed more than $40 million in wages to almost 4,000 local workers, according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The feature had grossed more than $71 million as of March 19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Prete in Washington at rprete@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bloombergtax.com

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